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The Designer as Specialist

December 13, 2022

Anurag Yadav

According to a report, specialised design firms, in the US, are growing by more than 27% in the last five years. Specialised firms mean those design organisations, whether big firms or individual designers’ companies, that focus on specific parts of interior design individually and not as a larger part of the entire design offer. This trend, though not as concerted or specific, is knocking on the doors of the Indian design world as well. As designers focus on specialized interior areas, they need to update their knowledge and collaborate with other specialists is making their mark felt.

A breeze of change is blowing, albeit still quite gently, over design firms- whether just born or even the ones with a significant past. Individual architects are stepping into the world of interior design as well and using the services of a young greenhorn and fresh off-the-oven students of design, especially those from premier design institutes, to assist in interior design inputs. The idea is to give a little extra to clients and not stall after simply creating the structure design of spaces.

The bigger firms always have a department, often populated by a few senior designers, who let their creativity flow to produce intelligent and intuitive designed interiors. However, the trend seems to now focus on talent and abilities that encourage designs for niche areas. The kitchen is one main area for this experiment.

The designer is now required to be a specialist- at least that is what is expected of them by discerning clients.

Integration of technology might be a product designer’s job but integrating the product into the kitchen is the task that sets the men apart from the boys. Photo Courtesy: Kam Idris on Unsplash

Clever designing can maximise the use of space but even then it’s not always possible to include everything. And therefore, compromises have to be made that call for pragmatism instead of a free rein to creativity. Clients now need a kitchen designer who can actually conjure up what they want specifically. Budgets are never unlimited but expectations are hence producing fine kitchens is constrained by the costs of the various materials.

The need for the niche designer thus becomes paramount. Better kitchen design professionals are groomed to come up with solutions that no ‘general’ designer would be able to sense the sheer range of products, technologies and trends in the specific technologically driven areas as the kitchen is beyond the scope of regular work.

There are few things that are today not connected with new technology. Almost every piece of equipment or kitchen design element now needs to be as ‘future-proofcolour’ as possible. An idea floating around the design sphere states that sometimes, simplicity is the key and solving a simple problem can be far more interesting than ‘haute couture design’.

The concept of kitchen design is stepping beyond the structure, color, material and products. The process of chopping and peeling, so common in a kitchen is not something that is beyond the focus of the design being created for a kitchen. The kitchen design must step into the realm of product design as well. The kitchen designer and the appliances that he perceives the client will need now must be on the same page. Companies in the international sphere will now come up with new products that the design fraternities, especially those who work on kitchen design, are accepting eagerly.

The designers, in days to come, will be more deeply involved in selecting products and appliances which can be seamlessly woven into the space he or she will create for the kitchen. Photo Courtesy: R Architecture on Unsplash

Designing the structure of the kitchen and designing the products that facilitate the ‘functioning of a kitchen blending together steadily.

A major kitchen product company forecast the advent of a fully interactive range that gathers the user’s personal information by the scan of her hands. 3D technology-enabled scanners measure one’s nutritional needs simply by placing hands, palm-side down, on top of the cooking range.  From this data is collected and real-time analytics are gathered, letting the consumer know what the families’ bodies required in terms of nutrients and calories.

International trends have the propensity to filter into high-end homes and those who spend the megabucks are quick to expect the flighty ideas to be incorporated in their kitchens as well. Let’s face it- the kitchen has become a showpiece for the high-end consumer. No one understands this better than the designers who work to create fancy interiors. The realisation is that designing is juxtaposing itself with interiors and products.

Knowing the ultimate users attitude, personality, needs and preferences goes a long way on helping the designer arrive at a logical design. Photo Courtesy: Justus Menke on Unsplash